Image Source: Twitter CSK/ Ben Stokes
Chennai Super Kings' batting coach, Michael Hussey, has confirmed that Ben Stokes, the captain of the England Test team, will be featuring as a specialized batsman in the initial stage of the 2023 Indian Premier League (IPL). Stokes has been grappling with a knee injury, raising concerns about his participation in the league this season. Hussey added that the team is collaborating closely with the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to manage Stokes' condition.
"My understanding is he's ready to go as a batsman from the start. The bowling might be wait and see. I know he had his first very light bowl yesterday (Sunday) since he had his injections in his knee," said Hussey on Tuesday.
"The physios from Chennai and ECB are working pretty closely together. My understanding is he won't be bowling much at all in the first few games of the tournament... it might be a few weeks. I'm not 100% sure, (but we will) hopefully get him bowling at some stage in the tournament," Hussey added.
The possibility of Stokes donning the iconic yellow jersey of Chennai Super Kings has left their supporters visibly elated. The franchise has posted videos of Stokes smashing sixes during practice sessions at the Chepauk Stadium, evoking thunderous cheers from the crowd. According to Hussey, Stokes is keen on playing at the stadium, which hasn't hosted a CSK match since 2019.
"The ground is amazing: new stands up, full capacity. The first home game, the atmosphere is going to be out of this world. I can't wait -- and I'm sure Stokesy is going to absolutely love it. That's the thing with those big players, they generally like a big stage and perform their best on it. Once he gets out there in Chepauk Stadium in front of an unbelievably loud crowd, I hope it's going to bring out the best in him," Hussey said.
According to Hussey, since arriving in India, Stokes has been in great form with the bat, and the batting coach expects him to be a major contributor in CSK's quest to make it to the playoffs. Hussey also emphasized the importance of having all-rounders in the team, and getting Stokes to bowl would be a significant boost to the squad.
However, earlier, Stokes had hinted that he might not be available for the latter stages of the tournament as he is expected to join the England squad for a one-off Test against Ireland on June 1, followed by the Ashes series beginning on June 16. As the IPL concludes on May 28, Stokes' availability for the entire tournament might be in question.